Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Trailblazer gets his due

Given the propensity of the sports media to beat to death any storyline with even the slightest whiff of broader societal implications, I'm shocked the story of one of the newest Toronto Raptors hasn't received more attention. While much has been written and broadcast about the rookie Jamario Moon, with his smalltown upbringing and circuitous route to the NBA, little is known of his teammate, Carlos Delfino.



Fans have taken to Delfino's quiet intensity, quick delivery and surprisingly solid defense. What has gone unnoticed is that Carlos has achieved this success while also carrying the burden of being the first North American professional athlete who happens to be a transsexual. On the court Carlos is just another teammate, busting his tail helping the Raptors in their efforts to repeat as Atlantic Division Champions. The only difference is that before the game while the other players are taping up their ankles and tying up their shoes, Carlos is tweezing his eyebrows and touching up his eyeliner. He's just one of the guys, albeit a much prettier guy.

Good for Carlos. Tranny or not, he's been a great addition to the team. Presumably years of gender confusion have toughened him to the rigors of being a professional basketball player. He certainly seems unfazed by anything that's happened so far this season. A friend of mine tried to convince me that Delfino was just "very metro". I don't buy it. Have you ever seen him and Carmelita from Dirty Sexy Money (a surprisingly good show) in the same place, at the same time ? Didn't think so.

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